PiercingMetal.com’s Editorial 2006: The Year in “Reviews”
I clearly remember thinking that when 2005 was drawing to a close that it was going to be a hard year to beat in terms of Metal music as a genre on the whole. I said to friends that 2006 surely had its work cut out for it. On a more personal level, 2005 was special as well for we had just jumped into the fray a little deeper with the launch of PiercingMetal.com. It was a mid-year debut and while we felt it might go over well in time, we were not really expecting the resounding public response to the manner in which we present things. Metal websites are everywhere and for the most part “review” is essentially just someone’s “opinion” and not the “law” or “final word”; the great response to how we see the overall picture is something we appreciate and hope to continue to foster as time marches on. Heavy Metal music made some significant leaps in 2006 and pretty much made 2005 look like a shy effort. We broke down the happenings into several sections to make better sense of it and to present some thoughts on several of the more notable occurrences. Please read on.
CD: 2006 in Metal Music
If you somehow felt that there wasn’t any good Metal released in 2006 then you must have been off filming Survivor or something else that will keep you out of the public goings on for several months. 2006 saw the return to recording of the mighty Slayer, delivered Metal justice from Lamb Of God and showed that Mastodon would not suffer the commercial curse once moving to a major label. We also saw Trivium release an album that would end up reminding fans what we used to like about Metallica. The year also showed that crossover groups like “I” and Chrome Division were not just time wasting side projects but instead relevant and fun prospects for the fans to enjoy. Live recordings were numerous with the better ones coming from Children Of Bodom, Kamelot and Dream Theater. Other standout releases were offered by Into Eternity, Mercenary and Beyond Fear and this is really just scratching the surface. There was a little bit of everything for everyone with all of the different aspects of the genre participating in the new music that was coming out. We also saw some groups making more of their music available via digital download as well, with more Metal being present on outlets like I-Tunes and its competitors.
DVD: Contrary to what we’ve heard, Video Did NOT Kill The Radio Star:
In 2006 the DVD concert video seemed to rule once again and often if a there was a live CD released it would be because a DVD film of the same concert had preceded it or been released in tandem. It would be the case for Kamelot, who released an amazing show in support of their “Black Halo” album. The same would come for Children Of Bodom as they delivered a “Stockholm Knockout” and truly captured their shows in amazing fashion. The other notables of the year included Styx (with a youth orchestra), Iced Earth (legacy footage that was until 2006 unreleased), and Arch Enemy and Dream Theater who each who presented new concerts to enjoy. Bands like Therion, Amon Amarth, KISS, and Rush released comprehensive editions that included footage that had not only been unseen for many, many years but also was quite loaded with goodies. Most of the DVD releases also came in amazing packages or offered substantial bonus treats inside as well and booklets that made them something you wanted to buy and keep among your collection for years. By the way all of the product pieces we line out as special have been reviewed on the site so take a look for them if you want to know a little more.
Concerts: Scream For Me New York!!!
PiercingMetal.com covered so many shows in 2006 that we felt like we were on tour ourselves. The number reached fifty-one in total according to our logs and they were some of the best performances and the most exciting shows to attend for the genre. There wasn’t as much a need for the team to even leave the City with so many of the events happening right here in the Big Apple – of course when it came down to “The Unholy Alliance” tour that featured Slayer and “Gigantour 2” with Megadeth we certainly did what was necessary to provide coverage. 2006 was also a year for bands that had not toured over here in many years as well. Shows that featured Loudness, Y&T, Emperor and Celtic Frost were the front runners of returning greats while those who had never performed in New York or the States at all made a visit. That list featured Gamma Ray, Epica, The 69 Eyes, The Gathering and more. The great part of this was seeing that the material was known by the audience in attendance and that sure made a difference to the performance we got from them. I did a lot of my concert travels at both B.B. King Blues Club and Irving Plaza this year with B.B.’s being the crowned King Of Shows when it all added up. Of the complete amount of covered appearances we visited this particular venue 25 times and as result it is one of the preferred places in terms of concert coverage for us. We come to this conclusion since we know both the staff and the regulations quite well. Our consistent presence here made us wonder if we should just bring the laptop with us and write the reviews as the show happens. Across the gamut of show the audiences were mixed as at certain shows they were amazing and at other times lackluster and disappointing. It’s understandable that we are not able to go to every show that happens but when it is an artist who has never been here before, or who does not get here often – you must realize that your participation is often the catalyst in their ever returning again. Remember this and attend whenever you can since you make the difference to them whether you realized this or not.
The Calendar: I’m sorry; we will have to pencil you in for another appointment….
2006 has shown that the Calendar was really a good idea for the readers of PiercingMetal.com and as the Editor I have been both applauded and condemned for its presence on the site over the past year. I mean this in a semi-comical sense as people have told me it plans their Metal life and others have said they are broke because I am always listing shows and new releases that they simply “cannot miss”. I hope in 2007 to have some more input from area venues and the record labels to list more of the releases and performances than we might have had on our own. As you know we currently feature almost every NY Metropolitan area show at the major venues as well as key releases for the labels. While we do a lot of the digging ourselves, there have been some of the readers who act as feelers to what is coming as well. They report in to me, and I research as necessary before including it for you to see. This is often done months in advance and of course it’s up to the reader to keep track of the events as while we bring it to you, we might not know of changes or cancellations and we are not responsible for them.
Statistically Speaking: And a one, and a two and a three….
Statistics are what it boils down to at the end of the day and we are continually asked “how many hits do you get” or “what’s the traffic rating of your site”. With so much perceived competition in this area and so many Metal websites turning up they tend to become valid questions. Many fan-oriented sites that focus on one or two artists have us on a particular group or artist are throwing their hat into the mix which can make it hard on the contacts as to who makes the difference or doesn’t. Amazon.com works closely with a ratings site called www.alexa.com . This site uses a tool that tallies up the amount of traffic websites get and gives you a rating based on this. According to this site a/o 12/31/2006 we have a traffic ranking of 340,699. Our total number of Hits a/o 12/31/2006 are 4,357,548 for an average of 363,129 per month. The top ten countries to visit the site outside of the USA are European Union, Great Britain, Mexico, Australia, Germany, Canada, Brazil, Netherlands, Finland and The Russian Federation. This is just the December listing, as we did not compile any complex mathematics to sort and analyze the other months of the year in terms of Countries. Either way, we are quite happy with these numbers and hope to see them rise as time goes forward.
Planning For 2007: The Magic 8-Ball, Crystal Ball and Fortune Cookie Sez…..
The plan for 2007 is to keep doing what we are already doing but with a stronger sense of purpose.. In 2006 we were able to surpass the amount of posted reviews done in 2005 by 41%; with 2007 looking to be a banner year as far as releases we hope to pass these numbers. We are also planning on more affiliate programs to help the readers get the music they want as well as other items that interest them such as electronics and rock clothing. There has been a positive response to the Amazon association as well as Hot Topic and Best Buy. I’ve been looking into I-Tunes for the product reviews as well, since practically everyone has a music player these days and they utilize the music downloading service to some extent. I am excited about Metal Edge Magazine and becoming one of their contributing writers – this collaboration can only aid in my quest to bring you a wider variety of excellent Metal information. It’s a great magazine and put together very well, so please do your part and purchase a copy when it’s possible for you to do so. I guess the bottom line is to stress the strong emphasis on raising the bar to make PiercingMetal.com your main source for area happenings and reviews of a wide scope of Metal and Hard Rock music. Together let us raise the horns in strength for the Metal we love so much.
Special Thanks Extended To The Following:
Once again we had the stellar assistance of Natalia Liaszkiewicz and Peter Parrella who handled the photography when the chance was open for their assistance. The pair even got back to the writing and joined forces with Joe Kaufman, our latest addition to adventure into other endeavors for the site and its development. I also want to thank you the die hard readers, my Piercing Legions and the friends I’ve made along the way. You all make this very worth doing and we shall strive to keep you intrigued and impressed. See you at the shows.
In Metal \m/
Ken Pierce – Editor In Chief